Why I prefer my apps local

Here is one of the reasons (the other being responsiveness) that I like my apps installed locally.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect (did I ever mention the time I tried to replicate my laptop hardrive and inadvertently reversed the power polarity (used the wrong lead) and fried the drive?) but I’m happy to take responsibility for keeping my systems up and running and pay the price when I fail.

The whole issue about this cloud nonsense is I can only use it when those responsible for it make it available. I know 4 9’s (99.99%) uptime is better than I can achieve, but I still prefer the control I have with my apps and data locally. Never mind our flaky power supply which make UPS or laptop essential, and delicate t’intarweb connections, and overall I don’t think I could rely on something remote for important stuff.

Could you?

12 Responses to “Why I prefer my apps local”

  1. Nick Hebb Says:


    Thanks to you (and my cynical curiosity) I just wasted time looking for Google Apps terms of services. Their Premiere account SLA quotes 99.9% up time for GMail, but I couldn’t find anything about Google Docs.

    Their up time is probably good enough for a lot of people, and I think web based word processing is a viable alternate to Word. I’m biased, though, since I’ve always hated Word. But spreadsheets? Nah. The web based ones really suck IMAO.

  2. Jayson Says:

    Another question to ponder – word docs on google docs are available offline through Gears. I wonder if they were affected?

  3. Rob Bruce Says:

    Reminds me of those long gone days when you’d all be sitting at dumb terminals and the cry would go up “mainframe’s gone!” and everyone would get up out of their seats and maybe do some physical filing, step out onto the fire escape for a cigarette (oh, the irony!), or maybe just hang around at the tea machine for a while catching up on gossip.

  4. Simon Says:

    That still happens at places that insist on roaming profiles, if you can’t get your profile you can’t do your work. Happened at a recent client after every patch Tuesday – I was the only one able to work as I work on my own laptop.

    As a matter of interest I think most of this stuff is in eternal beta isn’t it – I wouldn’t be that keen to rely on beta software to run my business, would you?

  5. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    We are still in the infancy of the cloud era. With seamless offline-online transition, 0.01% downtime will not be a problem. Sure, you can blame Google, but that’s uncalled for.

  6. jonpeltier Says:

    I’d be concerned about not having control of the content. There are clauses in the TOS that say that Google may share or amend your content for various reasons. If my data is local, I decide if it’s shared or amended, and while a disk error may obliterate my content, I have the responsibility and ability to make local content redundant via backups.

  7. Bryan Schmidt Says:

    I think your main concern should not be uptime, rather: security. My reason for keep certain files local is to keep them more secure (I chose to say ‘more secure’ over just saying ‘secure’, because you are always prone to a security breach). If you have a document that you don’t want anyone else ever to see, keep it in your pocket on a USB drive, and never let that drive out of your site. On the other hand, keeping files on the internet is less secure, but there are more and more people doing it, therefore creating more and more targets for hackers, in turn decreasing the chance that your files will be hacked by a hacker at random choice. Now if you have files that others would have reason to get their hands on, for example, instructions on how to build a WMD, or the location of Osama Bin Laden, then you have other issues, but have a higher chance of someone acquiring those without your consent.

  8. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    “I think your main concern should not be uptime, rather: security.”

    If you want security, stop touching a web browser and stop using your phone. Oh by the way, stop using a credit card too.

  9. Phil Says:

    You can set things up to your liking better when it’s on your own system.

  10. Paul Mathews Says:

    Completely agree. Certainly, the issues of uptime and security are key but accessibility can also be thorny. If you only ever do work at a place where you have an internet or network connection, then accessibility isn’t a problem but what if you’re on the road or in the air on the way to a client site. Perhaps you’re struck with an idea in the cab or in your business-class airline seat and you’d like to run some non-trivial calculations on your valuation software (I’m a former consulting actuary so this is relevant for me). Might be a bit of a problem if that software is web-based. (If you’re literally in the clouds, how do you access the cloud?) True, this isn’t likely to be an issue for the rest of time but ubiquitous, continuous access to the cloud is still a ways off. Stories of the demise of desktop computing is as greatly exaggerated as the 1990’s certainty of the inevitable triumph of clicks over bricks in the retail world. More likely, as with that case, we’ll see a continual hybridization of pure desktop apps with web app capabilities (e.g., smart clients). But the ascension of pure web apps over desktop. Nope, don’t think so (but I’m willing to concede that I’ve been wrong before although I haven’t fried a hard drive — well, not yet anyway).

  11. Harlan Grove Says:

    There are several issues: 1) security, which I’d break up into a) privacy (no one else can see my files unless I let them) and b) redundancy (meaning backups); 2) availability; 3) flexibility (e.g., can I link spreadsheets ranges as tables in word processor documents?); 4) power (i.e., application features and capabilities); 5) scriptability and extensibility.

    Anyway, the security issue is more about files/content than applications. My biggest concern with storing files online would be whether I could access them if the application service provider went out of business.

    Availability is a question of both the application service provider’s uptime and our own internet connections’ reliability. I’d guess the former will be reasonably good as long as they’re financially sound. As for the latter, I suppose it could vary all over the board. My own internet connectivity isn’t bad from home (cable modem/wireless router – only twice in 2008 has my ISP’s system failed, and one of those times was due to the gas company severing one of their cable mains). In the office we have an outage about once a month (there’s a lot of office building construction still going on nearby, so lots of opportunity for contractors to screw up thousands of office workers’ phone and internet connections). Since a lot of the systems I already use are online (both Terminal Server and mainframe connections), I’ve already learned to adapt to this. It’s a pain!

    The last three points are where I see the current online offerings as still too weak compared to, say, Microsoft Office. Maybe Ulteo, which is an online wrapper on OpenOffice, provides OpenOffice’s scripting facilities, but OO automation documentation is still a bit primitive, as in next to nothing for OO’s object model.

  12. gobansaor Says:

    For a lot of folks Google Apps (like Excel) is “good enough”.

    Mamy computer users (private and business) have no (or at least ineffective) backups, insecure networks, talk about their businesses in pubs, on trains; have staff/spouses/peers that dislike (if not hate) them, would rather be anywhere but at work; the list of “things being less that 100%” is endless, so for most, “good enough” will do, at least it’s cheap/free!


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